The Sainbury's Design Archive

The Sainsbury Archive is an online repository of the supermarket chain’s history containing everything from photographs to examples of advertising from the company’s 100+ years. Particularly fascinating for designers is the wealth of packaging material on here, with hundreds of examples of Sainsbury’s own brand designs.


What we have here is no less than the story of UK consumer communication, where the timeline interface can be used to discover the changing design trends and impact of new production process right through the 20th century. The work of Peter Dixon’s in-house team is particularly fascinating, each 1000’s of new product packaging was introduced or re-designed, each with their own distinct graphic approach. As well as pictures, much of the packaging is shown as flat artwork proofs which will be of interests to students of 3D design. Aside from packaging, the photographs of store fronts, press and poster ads an even old editions of the Sainbury’s in-house packaging allow from the trace the evolution of how one of the countries biggest retail brands have communicated with it’s audience. This is a fantastic resource for research into any design project.


One week project: 3D

The first year graphics and advertising students have recently presented their concepts for the one-week 3D project. Each student was assigned a different organisation and briefed to create a carrier bag that creatively represented their client. A challenging brief in both concept and craft, some unexpected solutions were on show, and a few in particular served as great examples to the group.

The key to this brief and for further developing the concepts is to present just enough visual information for the viewer to make the connection.

National Council for Metal Detecting

Canal & River Trust

The Ramblers' Association

The Spiritualism Association

The Savile Row Bespoke Association

Daniel Liévano

TDOD have recently been contacted by Daniel Liévano, an illustrator from Bogotá, Colombia. He sent some images across which we thought were stunning.

In the words of the man himself:

I believe I have a project that can be of your interest, it involves what I used to do in my first years and what I do nowadays. It's about Graphic Design and Illustration, respectively.

As a passionate of illustration, I'm always thinking about what makes my job relevant in the world, and this time I thought about the common process of an illustration assignment. Illustrators are often given text-based briefs so they can imagine a visual relationship of the idea behind such brief, and sometimes that simple exercise has made the job of illustrators be seen as a mere technical discipline, which is not at all.

So I created a series of illustrations where the process is simply inverted: The creation of an image happens first, and then I imagine  hypothetical texts that can exist next to the out-of-the-blue illustrations.

To make this more purposeful, I went to my earliest passion, graphic design. I wanted to design covers of many sort of publications as if they seemed real, with real world topics and key terms such as The Observer's Paradox, themes that can be found in psychology  and philosophy. The allusion of these implicit articles, ended being absolute fiction.

Below are the illustrations in their original state, before being used within their respective cover designs.

Original Illustrations

In context

One week project: Typography

Year 1 Graphics and Advertising students have recently completed their second one-week lateral thinking brief. Tutors and students alike have been impressed with the overall standard on show at the crit.

In fact, and though thought to be clandestine; some second and final year’s hushed conversations have been overheard…and betray the notion that perhaps this year’s crop have faired better than their own. Interesting, indeed.

Ephemera Archive Exhibition

Here we feature a few snaps of the recent exhibition held in the PR1 Gallery in Preston of 1970’s & 80’s printed ephemera. These everyday items were originally collected by the Polytechnic librarians and used as visual reference for the art & design students back in the day. Forty years later these now unique items give us an interesting insight into our then everyday lives.

The collection includes, letterheads, packaging, leaflets, posters, badges, newspapers, press adverts, sweet wrappers, food labels, carrier bags and a whole host of other throw away items.

We hope to have a further exhibition of the archive in early February as part of our annual conference week. Stay tuned.

2D becomes 3D

Spotted by Guy, here is a really interesting (and useful) application of a 3D optical illusion as opposed to merely aiming to please the eye (and the mind). The illusion itself has been used to perform the function of appearing as a zebra crossing (which it is); but also through its illusory nature, serving to actively slow approaching drivers down (perhaps more importantly).

Have a look at more coverage here.

Thanks, as ever, to parentheses (you know who you are).

NAFA visit - September 2018


This September, the UCLan graphic design staff welcomed 34 students from Nanyang Acadamy of Fine Arts in Singapore to the Preston campus. A five day itinerary included: sharing graduate work from Preston, a talk from the Reverend Jackson Whitehead aka Andy Bainbridge, a one-day instagram typography project, studio visits to design agencies in Manchester, and finally a cultural walking tour of Preston and its history led by Steve Bennett.

Andy told the story of Typographic Specimens from its beginnings and inspiration, its progression and development of the Reverend’s narrative; and how he finally came to realising the project in print and having his book in the British Library. His talk was of particular interest to some students, who took the time to document Andy’s fizzog. As a side note it was so enjoyable to watch so many students draw freely and regularly.

 Andy in human form…

Andy in human form…

 Andy in sketch form…

Andy in sketch form…

Instagram typographic project

When viewed in its native form, instagram provides a grid of the three columns in infinite rows. It’s a pre-made grid which can be taken advantage of from a number of standpoints. Much like a scrabble board it provides the opportunity to spell out words.

Being from a completely different background (culturally, geographically, aesthetically), we briefed the NAFA students to head out into Preston and photograph any typography they find which interested them for being different. Having collected a variety of imagery from the city, the simple aim of the brief was to use that typography to create a sentence or response to their travels using the instagram grid.

When back in the studio, the student groups compiled their photos, printed them out and began working out potential layouts.

It was a quick, fun project. Have a look at the outcomes on our TDOD instagram account.

With trips to The Chase, LOVE and True North we had a fantastic day in Manchester. (And also special thanks to those agencies for offering us their time.) The week cumlinated in a rain-soaked tour of Preston, and thankfully a pint in the Black Horse.

Thanks to Miss Peh and all the students from NAFA, we hope you had a fantastic week; and thank you for the sweet treats!

Paul Rand - Auction

For those of you who know Paul Rand, an exhibition catalogue for an auction sale of some of his work, belongings and prints has been put up online. And for those lucky enough, there's an opportunity to own a piece of design history. Take some time to have a look through the collection, when seen as a whole it's awe inspiring.

If you don't know of Paul Rand then you're a newcomer, but he is one of the absolute masters of design. The auction catalogue features his work, but also things that inspired him. It is so important to remember that we should look to take inspiration from the world outside of design, not just repeat what we already know.

His house is up for sale as well, it also offers an interesting insight into a designer's way of living.